Monday, August 31, 2009
And that's got me thinking: maybe I should have a plan B? Y'know, in case Operation Kittyhawk never gets off the ground.
Well. Fate must be a mind reader because when we went to the beach over the weekend, there was my Plan B - just sitting there in the sand. Ok, maybe the Lokahi Outrigger Canoe Club put the boat there so they could practice canoeing in The Bay. But I'm sure fate had something to do with it too. I mean, we go to the beach all the time and I've never seen a boat on the beach. Sharks and jellyfish and a cloned dog - yes. But a boat? No. Not once. Ever.
So now I have an official Plan B: if I can't fly, I'll float. Maybe even in an outrigger canoe.
I'm not sure about all humans, but my human is all about before, after, and especially later. She's a huuuuge fan of later (my friend Google says the technical term for this is procrastination). But even my later-happy human knows some things just can't wait. And since she just read a book about hurricane Katrina (and still pretty much bawls her eyes out at the thought of "Katrina dogs") she finally decided the doggie disaster plan she's been thinking about for years couldn't wait another minute.
So now we have an emergency kit and a plan. And along with the plan we have shiny new ID tags with an out-of-area emergency contact number - just in case local phone service fails or my human can't be reached. My human also added a Pet Alert card to her wallet. Clipped to her license, the card tells people like the police that me and brother Dutch are home alone, that someone has volunteered to care of us, and how that person can be contacted.
We also have a special folder in case some really terrible disaster strikes. Like if my human falls off a cliff or gets eaten by a shark. The special folder holds our medical history (ie; Dutch is allergic to bees, I've been known to fake heart attacks), information about our day-to-day care and quirks (I eat rocks - don't be alarmed; Dutch smiles when he's nervous and it makes him look a vicious werewolf - don't be alarmed by that either), plus a general run down of who we are and how we work.
You can download a Pet Alert card for free and learn how to prepare for your own disaster. Oh, and my human says it's a really good idea to print out a clear, recent photo of your pet -- in case you ever need to make a LOST DOG poster in a hurry.
Hopefully, none of your preparation will ever come in handy.
Friday, August 28, 2009
As usual, she bought a big version for brother Dutch and a smaller version for me. Only problem is, the big one is orange and the small one is black. And after a few minutes of chewing, I started to wonder if orange-footed animals taste better than black footed ones because Dutch went nuts over his foot but mine wasn't really all that tasty. Dutch can be really picky and, well, I eat rocks.
There was no way to prove my suspicions without doing a side-by-side comparison. Because Dutch was so excited about the orange foot, it was a pretty risky taste test. First I'd have to create a diversion. Y'know, get his attention away him from the foot. Dutch has a pretty short attention span, so distracting him isn't very hard to do. Next, I'd have to grab the foot and run off with it without Dutch noticing. Tricky, but doable.
Woo-hoo! My plan went off without a hitch. I was able to get both feet to myself and was about to do begin my taste test when I heard my human's voice. And it did not sound happy.
PUUUGLET. Do you have BOTH of the hooves?
Sigh. So I learned that our new parts were hooves and not feet. But I never got a chance to find out if orange hooves taste better than black ones.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Last time we were circling the neighborhood looking for an empty spot, I asked my human why we don't just trade our big dumb car for a little smart car. She just sighed and said Because you and Dutch won't fit in one.
Well. I kinda took that as a challenge. I mean, the car we ride in isn't exactly huge. And we don't get to ride in the whole car either - just the part my human calls the "dog pod". Which is just her way of making the little back compartment with a big window sound cooler than it is. Anyway. I wanted to show my human that us dogs weren't going to stand in the way of easy parking - prove that we all could fit in a tiny car. And yesterday I finally got my chance.
The car was tiny, yellow and parked right in front of our house. It was a convertible, so I just jumped right in. It felt big enough to me, but I couldn't convince brother Dutch to get in it. NO WAY, he said, am I getting in THAT. My human just kinda laughed.
Puglet, that's not a car - it's a Go Kart. And it's not ours. Please get out before whoever it belongs to comes back.
Uh-oh. As my human was taking today's picture, the Go Kart people walked up. They were visiting from Germany and had helmets. They didn't really mind that I was sitting in their Kart & asked my human if she could take their picture too. We got to talking so I asked what it was like to ride in the little Kart. They said it was fun, even though they almost got hit by a bus. Twice.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
It's called The Monster Mouth and the thing I like most about it is, well, its monstrous mouth. My human stuffs it full of yummy stuff to eat and even though it takes awhile to get all the food out, I have a feeling that's the point. Otherwise it'd just be a food bowl and there's nothing really all that fun about a food bowl.
The Monster Mouth comes in one color (green) and two sizes, big and bigger. I'm a big fan of the bigger mouth, but see that look brother Dutch is giving me? That's his way of saying the bigger mouth is supposed to belong to him. I always get stuck with the small stuff but my human says the smaller of these two mouths is still "plenty big".
The thing that makes The Mouth better than other stuffable toys we have is its easy to hold, no-escape shape. The Kongs we have are cool, but they always run away and get stuck under the couch. I used to be able to retrieve them myself, but the last time I tried that I got stuck and my human had to lift up the couch to get me out. So now we just bark when stuff gets couch-bound and I don't think my human likes that a whole lot. Which makes her a big fan of The Mouths too.
(*Note: I mean the best indoor toy ever. The Chuck-it-Stick on a rope thing still rules the outdoors.)
-- Summary --
Entertainment value: 4 out of 4 paws
Tastiness: varies (depends on what your human fills it with)
Duration of play: approx 30 mins (per filling)
Durability: seems pretty indestructible
Value? (my human made me put this): Might seem a bit pricey for a toy that doesn't really do anything, but it's a really good investment. It can be filled with just about anything your human has lying around the kitchen. The Monster Mouth is also green. Not just green-colored, but green like eco-friendly. It can be filled, consumed, and washed a million times over.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
It didn't make any noise, but it didn't have to. Its mere presence in the room was enough to wake me up. And when I opened my eyes, there it was on the table next to the bed. Watching us sleep with a pair of huge, creepy eyes.
I had no idea what it was or how it snuck in, but I really wanted it OUT. So I woofed. And nothing happened. My human and brother Dutch snoozed away, the creepy trespasser wasn't fazed one bit. I escalated my threats to a more serious woof-woo-woo-woo! But the thing still didn't budge. Neither did Dutch or my human.
It was clearly up to me to save us all, so I jumped on my human's head and let loose a loud growl/howl combo. The intruder didn't flinch, but I definitely got everyone else's attention. Dutch let out a very loud reflex-bark. And even though it was obvious he had no idea what was going on, I totally appreciated the back-up. My human joined in the barking next:
PUGLET! What are you DOING?!?
I motioned to the intruder on the table.
Ugh. Puglet, that's YOU. It's just a PICTURE of YOU. Go to sleep.
And that was it. She went back to sleep and left me alone with the scary picture. Of myself.
I'm going to keep a close eye on Mr. Intruder, just in case my human is wrong about the whole picture-of-me thing. I mean, the way people gush over me, you'd think I'd be waaaay cuter than that. And a whole lot less creepy. Right??
Monday, August 24, 2009
By Michael Schaffer
It's been awhile since my last book review. Mostly because my human has been reading a lot of really boring non-dog stuff lately. OK, and partly because I've been too busy obsessing about things like flying. But whatever - when I saw a dog on the cover of my human's latest read, I asked her to tell me about it.
From what I gather, One Nation Under Dog is about dogs like me. Dogs who have been "elevated" from family pet to member of the family. Dogs who sleep in human beds and have never seen the inside (or outside) of a doghouse. Dogs who enjoy a human-quality standard of living that includes - but isn't limited to - organic meals, birthday celebrations and specialized medical care.
Dogs who Twitter and blog??
Well - duh! So what if I have more toys than the average 3 year old? It's only because my human loves me. And I think that's what One Nation Under Dog is all about: the love humans have for dogs and all the "crazy" ways they show it. My human says it's also about how this love has evolved over time, some reasons why it's grown to such epic proportions, and what it all says about the modern American human. And us very lucky dogs.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Yeah, have to admit - I never really understood the whole Pug thing until now. I used to think they were just these weird little alien dogs. Y'know - kinda like E.T.
Alright, she said other things too. Like how wrong she was and how I'm the greatest dog ever, etc., etc. But the alien thing kinda bugged me. I also had no idea what an "E.T." is and wasn't sure if I could count it as a compliment.
When I asked my human for an explanation, she just laughed it off and kissed me on the head. So of course I ran straight to Google for answers. And Google did help me find E.T. - "The Extra Terrestrial".... but now I have a whole new set of questions. Like, is that really what I look like??
Thursday, August 20, 2009
But whatever. Humans can be weird. What I really think happened is someone spotted signs for a winery and needed an excuse to stop and have a taste. Still, visiting a vineyard sounded like fun. I'd never tasted wine before and thought I deserved a "recovery" drink too. But my human said no way - grapes can kill.
She explained that wine is made from grapes and grapes can be dangerous - even lethal - to dogs. Grapes kill?? Who knew.
I'm really glad my human knew about the trouble with grapes. I'm not ready to have a third near-death experience anytime soon.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Just like that fake-heart-attack-gone-wrong, I didn't mean for it to happen. We were just hanging out at a lake with our spotted friends Boka & Miley. The lake was cool, unsalted and tsunami-free. Near the shore, the water was shallow enough to run and splash around in. Further out, it was deep enough for the big dogs to swim around like fishes.
Even though Miley fell off a cliff and cut her paw open, we were all having the best time ever. We took turns playing with the Chuck-it stick and brother Dutch's rainbow ball. I out-splashed and out-tugged everyone. Maybe that brought out my competitive nature - not sure - all I know is that when it came time for someone to fetch a stray tennis ball we found, I decided that someone was going to be me.
The ball wasn't too far from shore. It seemed totally possible. And it would have been, if I had a snout. Y'see, balls and water and my lack of snout are a bad combination. It's pretty much impossible for me to capture a floating tennis ball - I just can't get my mouth around it. Every time I try (and I do try) the ball just gets pushed further away.
Which is exactly how I ended up swimming halfway across the lake.
I just really really wanted to be the one to fetch the tennis ball. I was focused, determined. Nothing else mattered. Not the scary boat coming towards me, not the scary deep water or impending tsunami. Not the sound of my human yelling "Puglet! Puglet!", or the magic words "Cookie?! Cookie?!". I just kept swimming. And the ball just kept getting further away.
Before I knew it, I was a long way from shore. I could hear panic in my human's voice. She hardly ever yells, but she was YELLING. This broke my concentration, made me nervous. I was starting to get tired. It was getting harder and harder to keep my head above water and it was still a long swim back to shore. I forgot all about the tennis ball... and began to fear for my life.
Well, I obviously didn't die. I swam to shore, coughed up a bunch of water and got a big giant hug from my human. When I mentioned hearing her yell something about a cookie, she gave me a whole bunch of them.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Awhile ago, I had my human sign me up for Twitter. Figured it'd be cool to share my every thought with the world. In real time. Trouble is, I seriously underestimated how hard it is to share your thoughts when you don't have thumbs (whenever something is hard for me, my human says it's because I lack opposable thumbs). I don't know what the big deal about thumbs is, but I do know that typing is really hard and can only conclude it's because I don't have the thumbs.
Anyway. I tried getting my human to help me out, but she said she needed her thumbs for "more important things". Not sure what's more "important" than helping me compose Twitter tweets, but without her help I quickly became the worst Twitterer ever. This really bummed me out. I had 75 followers hanging on my every word - but because of the thumbs issue, all they got was 100% pure radio silence.
I expressed this concern to my human & struck a deal: she would lend her thumbs to the Twitter cause, but only to announce each day's Daily Puglet topic. And in exchange for the limited use of her thumbs, I agreed to dress up like the Twitter bird/mascot and sit in a tree for today's photo.
So there you have it: if you're a dedicated Twitter user, you can now receive a tweet about each new Daily Puglet post. Just add DailyPuglet to your "Following" list.
Monday, August 17, 2009
The balloon festival in Reno is still 26 days away (an eternity in pug time) and I think my excitement is starting to irritate those around me. After about the millionth balloon question, my human finally told me she was all out of answers. So I started bugging Google instead. And y'know what Google told me?
Two words: cluster ballooning.
It's when you use a whole bunch of balloons to fly instead of one great big one. Some guy in Australia flew three miles high (!) using nothing but weather balloons and a lawn chair. They even made a movie about it called Danny Deckchair. My human thought watching it might satisfy my balloon curiosity so she Net Flix'd it for me over the weekend. Her plan didn't work though. Seeing the movie just made me want to fly even more.
If you ask me, an eternity is waaay too long to wait for anything. Especially flying. So I talked my human into buying me some helium-filled balloons like the ones in Danny Deckchair. Unfortunately, she only bought six of them and one escaped on the way to the park so my cluster-ballooning experiment didn't exactly work out as planned.
I never left the ground, but did feel a little bit lighter. Anyone know how many balloons it takes to fly a pug??
Friday, August 14, 2009
OK. So first Rosie The Party Pug suggested skydiving. And I thought that sounded pretty great, but my human said no way. She's afraid jumping out of a plane might bring on another heart attack and I can't bring myself to tell her that I faked the first one just to save my boy parts. If she knew the truth, she'd kill me.
Luckily I have more than one genius friend! Little spotted Miley came up with another idea: flying in a hot air balloon. I thought using a balloon to fly sounded kinda sketchy and didn't really think my human would go for it. But my human is full of surprises. Turns out she flew in a hot air balloon at a festival in some place called Albuquerque once and thinks that would be perfect way for me to fly. No kidding.
I looked at some of my human's pictures from the festival in Albuquerque and there were a ton of really cool balloons. I kinda thought balloons were just round things, but a lot of these were definitely not round. There was a pink elephant. A flower. A cow. A turtle. Bees. And Jesus.
I have to admit, Jesus the hot air balloon kinda scares me. But the pair of bees holding hands? I LOVE them. My human said of all 700 balloons she saw at the festival, the bees were her #1 favorite (says they just made her feel happy). So get this - there's a balloon festival next month just a few hours away from San Francisco and when we went to the festival's website to check the dates, guess what we found. Yup - the bees. Fate has made sure the bees are going to be there!
Now all I have to do is convince the bees to let me fly with them.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I dreamt that my dream had finally come true. Uh, I mean my dream of flying - not the dream I was having at the time. Y'know, when I was sleeping. Which was about flying, so maybe it's all the same thing.
Anyway. In my dream (the sleeping one) I could fly. Well, I guess it was kinda more like floating than flying because I wasn't going very fast. More like a balloon than a bird or a kiteboarder. But I was still in the air and everything else was still on the ground. And that was cool.
Wish I could explain how it felt to fly or float or whatever I was doing in my dream, because it was the best feeling ever. Better than cookies (yes, people - cookies are a feeling when you're a pug). Better than toys. Better than chewing on a cow ear in the wilderness. I felt free.
I wanted to sleep forever, wanted to stay in my dream and keep flying. But the early morning YAP! YAP! YAPPING of the demon chihuahuas next door woke me up and ruined everything (I'm really starting to hate them). I'm back to being a land pug again.
Now that I know how it feels to fly, I HAVE to do it. For real. So I'm making Operation Kitty Hawk my #1 priority. After sleeping and eating and playing and blogging, I mean.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Until recently, I thought flying meant hang gliding. But I now know there's another option: kiteboarding. The World Kiteboarding Championship was held here in San Francisco over the weekend - at the very same beach we go to all the time. I'm sure this is no coincidence. I take it as a sure sign I'm destined to fly.
If you've never seen kiteboarding happen, it's really cool (video). See that surfboard thing I'm standing on? Attach it to a great big (and I mean BIG) kite like this one:
... and off you go!
My human said there's probably a little more to it, that you might need to know how to kiteboard before you can take flight. So I did some research. Ok, don't tell my human this, but my friend Wikipedia says kiteboarding doesn't exactly sound safe.
Being airborne at inappropriate places can be hazardous! Sudden gusts of wind can carry you off... and into buildings, nearby traffic or power lines. Most kiteboarding fatalities (fatalities?!?) are the result of a collision with a hard surface like water and sand. I guess I could wear some sort of padding, just in case. Maybe a helmet?
Anyway. Wiki also said something about "marine hazards". This part has me a little worried. Marine hazards include sharks, jellyfish, sea otters, dolphins, and even crocodiles, depending on the location. I've already had one shark scare and been assaulted by a jellyfish. But CROCODILES? I'm afraid to ask if we have them here. Totally looking into that before I take this kiteboarding thing any further.
Will keep you posted.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Next thing you know, I've got a mask on my face and tube in my mouth. Someone read the post about my swimming/breathing issues and sent me a snorkel!
My human tried to explain how it worked: You just breathe through the tube, she said. Think of it as an extension of your, uh, smushed-in snout?
All I can say is if breathing through a long snout is like breathing through a snorkel, I'm really glad I don't have one. Snorkeling is hard!
Google says a snorkel allows you to observe underwater attractions for extended periods of time with relatively little effort. I have to disagree with the "relatively little effort" part, but am kinda curious to know what underwater attractions I've been missing. Seeing that leopard shark at the beach awhile ago opened my eyes to a whole new world I never knew existed. Sounds like snorkeling could really open my eyes to it. Like, literally.
On second thought, I just watched some pretty scary stuff during Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. I know sharks don't mean to attack humans, but not so sure about pugs. Swimming around with a snorkel-enhanced snout, I could easily be mistaken for a seal. Think I'm better off not knowing what I share the waters with.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Except for the sand.
I don't know how you humans feel about sand, but me and sand have a serious love/hate relationship going on. I love to play in it. Love to dig in it, run on it, and sometimes even eat it (on a good day, it tastes like sushi). Sand can be a lot of fun. But it can also be a problem.
When you're a pug, sand gets stuck in your eyes. It doesn't just get in your eyes - but STUCK in your eyes. Where it forms great big clumps that my human has to flush out with eyewash. And if you've never been squirted in the eyeball with eyewash, it's a little like being squirted in the eye with, say, a garden hose. Neither brother Dutch nor my human have to endure this torture after a trip to the beach so it must be a pug thing.
If you have wrinkles, sand gets stuck in them too. Sand-removal from the wrinkles isn't quite as bad as the eye-washing, but can't say I like it.
Sand also kinda itches. Which wouldn't be so bad if sand stayed at the beach where it belongs. But sand gets everywhere. It's in our car, our house, my dog bed. Drives me nuts. My human sweeps up big piles of it everyday. I'm pretty sure it drives her nuts too.
Sand or no sand, I still love going to the beach. Especially when the weather gets hot. My human said there are people who don't get to live near an ocean and would probably like to have a sand problem. I guess the grass is always greener?
If you can say that about sand.
Friday, August 7, 2009
It took me a whole week to tell you about our little adventure and I STILL didn't cover half of it. Like the millions of tiny baby frogs I met at the creek (and the 3 that got stuck to the bottom of my paw). Or the snake my human found sleeping in her shoe. Or the invisible bear Dutch swears he saved us from. Oh - and the incredibly scary old train tunnel my human made us explore. Next time I have a slow week here in domestication-ville I'll tell you all about that stuff.
I am glad to be back home, but also kinda miss the wild. Once you smell the great outdoors, it's hard to go back to the scent of stale pee. My human promised we'd go back to the woods again. But she also promised Dutch we'd NEVER go back to the woods, so who knows.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
I was returning to the wild.
My human laughed at me when I told her that. Laughed. Brother Dutch just groaned and started complaining about how dirty the wild is. But I swear, I felt something. Something that made me want to stalk prey, howl at the moon and build a den out of sticks and leaves (or whatever dens are made out of). Something that made me feel like more than just a little pug from San Francisco.
I felt mighty and whole. And kinda hungry.
So I asked my human for a snack. Why don't you just hunt something down and kill it? was all she said (while trying not to laugh). Uh, no killing for me, thanks. Just a snack please. And that's when it hit me: I really am a city pug. I wasn't born to hunt or kill or build stuff out of twigs. I was born to keep my human company and consume pre-killed edibles in the comfort of our urban home while watching Animal Planet on a great big TV. And I'm OK with that.
When I shared this revelation with my human, she just smiled and gave me a cow ear to munch on.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
We spent most of Day 2 hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT, for short). Dutch even let me try on his backpack so I'd know what it feels like to be a real hiker. My human said the PCT runs all the way from Mexico to Canada (2,650-miles, according to my friend Google) and that every year a whole bunch of people walk every mile of it.
I thought she was lying. Until we met one of them. His name was Wrangler (which I thought was kind of a weird name for a human) and he'd been walking the trail for over a month. My human kept asking him all sorts of hikey-questions, but all I wanted to know was how he ended up with name like a dog.
It's a trail name, my human said. She explained it's like a nickname hikers on the trail give each other. How she knew this, I have no idea. Then I heard her tell the Wrangler guy that her trail name was "Downhill" when she hiked the Appalachian Trail (AT for short) a few years back.
Wait - what? Did everyone have a trail name but me? I suddenly felt really left out. No backpack of my own, no cool hikey-name. What kind of mountain dog was I? My human quickly pointed out that Dutch didn't have a trail-name either. Well that was easy: Princess. Just like it says on the pink collar someone got him after he faked a limp during his first (and last, up until now) camping trip.
With Dutch out of the way, I christened myself Ibex - a fancy kind of mountain goat I saw once on Animal Planet. They are super cool and mountainy and don't wear backpacks either.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
After a long day playing at the lake, we hiked to the top of a great big mountain and looked for a place to camp. My human lead us straight to a hidden spot that was soft and sandy and perfectly flat. Except for a few old pine trees, we were the tallest things for miles. I could look down on the entire world from our campsite. Of course brother Dutch wasn't happy about the whole tent thing, but I thought it was SO cool.
Until about midnight.
That's when the lightning started. I'd never seen lightning before and it was a little freaky, but seemed harmless enough. My human wasn't thrilled, but I was OK with it. Until the thunder showed up. Really really loud scary thunder. I've never heard anything make so much noise in my life. I was definitely not OK with the thunder.
I was scared. My human was kicking herself for pitching our a tent at the highest campsite on earth. Brother Dutch was sound asleep.... and then came the hail. THUMK THUMK THUMK against our tent, it was almost as loud as the scary thunder. It was all too much. I was ready to swear off camping and tents and mountains for good... when my human pulled out a cow ear for me to chew on. So I chewed.
Yum-my! I'd never tasted one of those before. Crispy on the outside, chewy underneath. Totally took my mind off, uh, that other stuff.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Ok. So, first of all the drive up to the mountains just plain sucked. It was 101 degrees and there was traffic. Lots of traffic. It took longer than forever. But I got to sit in the front seat where the air condidtioner was and getting to the mountains was definitely worth it.
As soon as we got there my human took us to this great big HUGE grassy thing she called a meadow. Huge isn't even the word - this thing went on forever. No streets, no cars, no buildings. Just plants, a ton of birds and a whole lot of weird bugs.
Everything in the mountains smelled so fresh and green and wild. Nothing at all like the city. Everything in the city smells a little like dog pee. Not that this is a bad thing - there's nothing wrong with pee smell. It's how us dogs keep in touch. But when you compare stale pee to whatever it is I was smelling up in the mountains.... wow. I had no idea life could smell so.....GOOD. Even Dutch got excited about it.
We ran around the meadow until the sun went down. I'd probably still be there chasing dragonflies if my human hadn't insisted we move on to our next destination. We had some camping to do.